Journey to Easter Island – Trip Motivation and Planning

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I often use metrics like ‘Cents Per Mile’ to try to evaluate my decisions for using points and miles.  While there is utility in doing such, the truth is that points and miles are really just a silly game to me.  My goal in collecting and redeeming points is not to save money I would have spent, but rather to experience places that are so ridiculous that I would never spend my own money to get there.  This trip was a shining example of the philosophy. Flying to Easter Island to spend two days on a remote island is silly.  Even if I had the money to purchase these tickets, I wouldn’t even think about it.  However I love the challenge and I love the ‘game’, so off we went!

  1. Trip Motivation and Planning
  2. LAN Flight Experience
  3. Tambo Del Inka Resort
  4. Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
  5. JW Marriott Lima
  6. Exploring Lima
  7. Exploring Easter Island and the Moai
  8. W Santiago
  9. Exploring Santiago De Chile

The good old pre-Avios days

It was a sad day for me last year when British Airways transitioned to Avios.  While there are some great values to be had in the new program, the pricing rules prohibit any sort of crazy Barrow-like adventures.  Fortunately,  I was able to lock in one of the old British Airways programs ‘wow’ routings before the switch. I call it a ‘wow’ routing because the BA phone agent I talked to said, “Wow, I didn’t think this would work!”


12000+ miles of  flights for 40000 miles

While extremely excited for this trip, I went into the trip blind.  Other than some help I received from you all, I really didn’t have a lot of background knowledge on any of these destinations.  The official reason I booked this trip was as a Mother’s Day present to Mom.  The unofficial reason I booked this trip was because I thought it was ridiculous you could fly three people all these places by signing up for a credit card.

This redemption was a straightforward one source-one call redemption.  Using the old 100K BA credit signup, I was able to book tickets for myself and both my parents (40K BA miles per person round trip plus ~100 USD in taxes per person).  I found the LAN award flight availability one by one using  Availability in economy on every leg of this trip was excellent for every date I checked.  It took just one quick call to BA and the ticket was booked.  The LIM-CUZ-LIM were booked separately on using 9000 Avios round trip plus 13 USD taxes.

Routing considerations

The specific routing for this trip was MIA-LIM-CUZ-LIM-IPC-SCL-LIM-MIA.  While we  didn’t care about the order of cities we visited, there was a factor that made this an important choice.  American citizens flying into Santiago’s primary international airport (SCL) from an international destination must pay a 140 USD reciprocity fee per person to enter the country.  However, this reciprocity fee is only enforced at SCL.  By choosing to enter Chile by means of Easter Island via Lima, the three of us were able to avoid this fee.

Hotel selection

With the flights taken care of, I headed over to SPG to find hotels where I could find points redemptions.  I found two properties I have long wanted to visit in the W Santiago and the Tambo Del Inka resort.  Easter Island does not have any chain hotels so I needed to go with a B&B there.  There were a few SPG options in Lima but none of them jumped out at me.  While I am not devout Marriott-ist by any stretch of the imagination, their JW Marriott in Lima looked phenomenal from my research so I went with a points redemption there.

Flights, check.  Hotels, check.  Good enough for me.  We’ll figure the rest out when we get there!

522913_10100227776111769_1355264710_nDon’t move!  There is more to come.

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. “My goal in collecting and redeeming points is not to save money I would have spent, but rather to experience places that are so ridiculous that I would never spend my own money to get there.”

    I love this sentiment.

  2. how many miles would you have to use with the new program? It be nice to see the difference. It’s crazy how for 40K miles you got an awesome trip that would otherwise be extremely expensive!

  3. @heidi – The award price has increased 50% to 60,000 Avios which still is not a bad value. AA will charge you 75K to get to Easter Island.

  4. I understand the LIM-CUZ-LIM is 9000 Avios RT/pp
    What about the 40K BA miles per person RT, what does it cover? Is it only MIA-LIM-MIA or include the flight from MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-LIM-MIA?

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